Rosh Hashanah falls late on the calendar this year, at the end of the back-to-school month and at the beginning of the first signs of fall. No matter; somehow, there are always those last-minute guests and added recipes that cause a flurry of activity in Jewish households right down to the wire. This year, the holiday starts after sundown on Sept. 29, a Sunday — a gift for those cooks and hosts who have just a few more preparations to make before they welcome the new Jewish year, 5780.
Since summer seems long-gone and families are knee-deep in activities already, make it a little easier on yourself. Make the freezer your friend. With the time ahead of the holiday, whip up a few dishes, slip them into the freezer and forget about them until that Sunday morning. Besides the ubiquitous brisket and chicken, soups and casseroles galore may be cooked, cooled, sealed and frozen. Just don’t forget to label each one, adding key codes such as pareve, meat or dairy.
It’s no big deal to cut up salads the night before (remember, the clocks start to go back, and there will be time after Shabbat for thawing and finalizing the menu). Chunks of tomato, cucumber and shredded basil stay just fine overnight. Toss with a little olive oil, some lemon or lime, and salt and fresh pepper just before serving. Cream soups, however, do not freeze well. The soup will separate, and the texture will become grainy; those are best prepared fresh or make the night before and refrigerate. For thawed soups, the seasonings may need to be adjusted as flavors are reduced by the cold.
And what’s a Jewish holiday without a kugel? My grandkids, home from college, will expect my pineapple applesauce kugel, and for dairy meals, a rich banana dessert kugel. Both freeze exceedingly well. Another must-have on the table is the ubiquitous honey cake. Try a seasonal variation: Pumpkin honey cake, which is moist, dark and delicious.
All of the dishes here may be served at Rosh Hashanah or to break the fast after Yom Kippur.
Ophra’s Mushroom Soup (Dairy, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)
Serves 6; recipe may be doubled.
Longtime home cook Ophra Kimberg generously shared this recipe with me.
*Cauliflower is the soup thickener.
*Chopped onions are available fresh or frozen.
*Buy canned mushrooms, pieces and stems.
*Cauliflower should be soft before adding to onions and mushrooms.
*When doubling the recipe, freeze in two batches.
*For a pareve dish, substitute olive oil for butter.
*For a dairy dish, top with a spoonful of sour cream or plain yogurt.
1 cup cauliflower florets
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup diced onions
1 can (14 oz.), plus 1 (7 oz.) can
mushrooms, stems and pieces, drained
2 teaspoons bottled chopped garlic
1⁄8 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons pareve bouillon powder
3 cups vegetarian broth
White pepper and salt to taste
Place cauliflower in a microwave-safe dish with 1 to 2 tablespoons water. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave 4 minutes or until very soft. Drain. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, garlic, thyme and bouillon powder. Cook over medium heat until onion is transparent. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool slightly before transferring to food processor. Add the broth and process until slightly grainy (longer if a smoother mixture is preferred). Season to taste with white pepper and salt. Cool before pouring into a container. Cover tightly, label and freeze.
Ginger-Spiked Fruit Soup (Pareve, Vegetarian)
Super-easy: Just place all ingredients, except the ginger, in blender and whirl. Serve chilled.
*Use fresh-squeezed lemon juice, not bottled.
*Ginger root, not powdered ginger, should be used.
*May substitute apple juice for orange juice.
*For a dairy soup, stir ½-cup sour cream or plain yogurt into thawed soup.
*If too thick, add a little more orange juice.
1 (15 oz.) can pitted cherries, drained
1 cup whole cranberry sauce
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 cup orange juice
½ cup water
1 slice (½-inch thick) challah or
white bread, crumbled
2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated
ginger root to taste
Place all ingredients, except ginger root in blender jar or food processor. Whirl until smooth. Stir in grated ginger root to taste. Pour into freezer container, cover tightly, label and freeze.
Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage Soup (Pareve)
Taste-tingling and hearty. Nobody stops at just one bowl. I stood at the elbow of Mrs. Sonnenschein, my 90-year-old Florida neighbor, as she cooked and stirred.
*Use ready chopped fresh or frozen onions.
*Purchase ready-to-buy, pre-shredded cabbage and shredded carrot.
*Divide soup into two containers. Defrost one for smaller groups.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cups chopped frozen onions
1 teaspoon salt
3 packages (14 oz. each) shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
2 tablespoons pareve bouillon granules
1 (46 oz.) can tomato juice
1 (14½ oz.) can Italian-style
3-4 bay leaves
Juice of 3 large lemons
½ cup brown sugar, packed or to taste
1⁄8 teaspoon white pepper or to taste
In large pot, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Cover, reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden, about 30 minutes. Add cabbage, carrot and bouillon. Stir, cover and cook 20 minutes longer to soften cabbage. Add remaining ingredients. Partially cover, simmer 30 minutes longer. Adjust seasonings. Cool before pouring into containers to freeze.
Easy Vegetable Lasagna for a Crowd (Dairy)
*Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list or directions. Ingredients are all ready to use.
*May divide ingredients into two containers each that serves 10 to 12.
*Full-fat ricotta, sour cream and milk may be used, if desired.
*Dry thawed chopped spinach by rolling tightly in clean tea towel.
*Reheat, thawed, at 325 degrees, for 40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
1 (16 oz.) package skim-milk ricotta cheese
1 (16 oz.) package low-fat sour cream
½ cup skim milk
1¼ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 (16 oz.) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
1 (10.5 oz.) “no cook” lasagna noodles
1 (12 oz.) jar roasted sliced red peppers,
1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts,
drained and quartered
1½ cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13×9 inch lasagna pan with nonstick vegetable spray. In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, sour cream, skim milk and pepper. Set aside. Spread half the spaghetti sauce over the bottom of prepared pan. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles and top with about 1/3 cheese mixture. Cover with roasted pepper and half the artichokes. Repeat with 3 lasagna noodles and half the remaining cheese mixture. Cover with remaining artichokes and the spinach. Top with remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese. Pour ¾ cup water into one corner of pan, tilting to distribute water to other corners. Cover tightly to seal with heavy-duty foil. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Cool completely before sealing with foil. Label and freeze.
Frozen Vanilla-Chocolate Soufflé (Dairy)
*May substitute whipped topping for whipped cream.
1½ pints frozen vanilla yogurt, softened
¼ cup miniature chocolate chips
2 tablespoons sherry
1¼ cups stiffly whipped cream
1 cup ripe strawberries,
hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons honey
Spray a 6-cup mold or bowl with nonstick vegetable spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix yogurt, chocolate chips and sherry. Fold in the whipped cream. Spoon into a prepared mold or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze 6 hours or overnight. To serve: Place berries in a small microwave bowl. Stir in honey. Microwave for 1½ minutes on High. Mash with a fork. Place in refrigerator to cool. Unmold frozen soufflé onto a platter and spoon berry mixture over top. Serve immediately.
Rich Banana Dessert Kugel (Dairy)
*Leave butter and cream cheese at room
temperature for several hours to soften.
*May use overripe bananas.
About half an 8-oz. package of fine egg noodles, cooked and drained
2 bananas, thinly sliced
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon-sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with nonstick vegetable spray. Spread cooked noodles over bottom of baking dish. Spread bananas over to cover. Set aside. In a large bowl, whip the butter, cream cheese and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Pour over bananas. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Bake in preheated oven 50 minutes or until almost firm to touch in center. Cool completely before sealing with aluminum foil, labeling and popping into freezer.
One-Bowl Pineapple=Applesauce Kugel (Pareve)
*Recipe may be doubled using a large baking dish.
*May use a pareve granola topping instead of crushed cornflakes.
*Substitute canned pineapple for fresh.
½ pound medium egg noodles, cooked and drained
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 (16-oz. jar) chunky applesauce
¾ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1⁄3 cup crushed cornflakes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×12-inch baking dish with nonstick vegetable spray. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with oil, pineapple, applesauce, sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add the slightly cooled noodles. Stir to mix. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle cornflakes evenly over noodle mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes or until slightly moist in center. Cool, cover tightly with foil and freeze.
Pumpkin Honey Cake (Pareve)
Makes 1 loaf (9x5x3-inch dish) and 1 extra mini-loaf (not individual, but mini-size), or 4 mini-loaves.
*Substitute 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon nutmeg for pumpkin-pie spice.
*Substitute ¾ cup candied citron peel instead of raisins.
*For full-proof nonstick effect, line bottom of loaf pan with waxed paper and spray with nonstick vegetable spray.
1 cup dark-brown sugar
½ cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin-pie) mix
¾ cup molasses
½ cup honey, warmed
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1¼ cups dark or golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan and extra mini-loaf pan (or 4 mini-loaf pans) with nonstick vegetable spray with flour. Beat eggs and sugar until blended. Add the water, vegetable oil, pumpkin, molasses and honey. Mix well. Stir in the flours, about ½ cup at a time, mixing to blend between each addition. Stir in the baking soda, spice and 1 cup raisins. Spoon into prepared pan(s). Scatter remaining raisins on top. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Bake mini-loaves 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Loosen edges by running a round bladed knife around. Turn out onto a wire tray. Cool completely. Wrap and freeze. JN